As a wild plant, cannabis sativa subs. Indica grows wild all over eastern Asia. Rather than smoke the buds – which are nothing like those we are now used to, thanks to clever breeders – the earliest form of hashish was created by gently stroking cannabis buds so that the sticky THC resin would accumulate on palms and fingers: this would then be scraped off, dried and smoked.
The quality of hash varies enormously around the world, depending in part on the strength of the local marijuana plant, the means of production, and the use of additives, or even simply the amount of green material allowed to corrupt the finished product. Most smokers have their favourite type, and the experienced will tell you that nothing tastes quite the same as Charas on an Indian beach, or Moroccan blonde in Fes and so on.
Hash is processed THC resin: the THC has been removed from the green plant material and preserved for long term use. This resin is mostly found in the trichomes in the female flower, but is available throughout plants of both sexes, and making hash is simply a way of extracting as much of this resin as possible. As such, there are many different means and methods of making hash, some more effective than others (in terms of the amount of hash produced), while others are better suited to the personal grower (in terms of quality of hash made).
So why would the bud grower make their own hash?
- Its a different smoke. Variety is the spice of life but as a recent article on soap bar impurities explained, when you buy a product you don’t always know what went into it.
- Its a more hygienic smoke than bought hash. Unfortunately, as those of us in Spain know when purchasing Moroccan “eggs” you all too often can guess how it got to you (buy in bulk and these enema shaped pods often smell rather too).
- It avoids wastage. Making your own hash is quite simply a good means of getting the most out of your crop. Whilst trichomes are found in concentrated amounts in the mature female plants, they exist throughout the marijuana plant, and are even found in male plants. All that plant material that you discarded during trimming contains around 10% of the cannabis plant’s THC production. Do you really want to throw this away?
- A good quality hash is easily marketable. Now while we do not condone illegal activity, it has to be pointed out that if you can consistently produce a high quality hashish it is easy to “brand” and therefore market hash. A bag of will always remain a bag of flower heads. Stamp your hash with a distinctive brand and all your friends will know its yours.
- Hash stores well and has a long life. Its not going to go stale as quickly as weed does, nor is it as susceptible to mould.
- Hash is easy to make and, without sounding too much like an episode of WDY (just go switch off your television set & go and out and do something less boring instead), its fun too!
How to make hashish:
Firstly it is worth repeating the old adage: something is only as good as the effort you put into it. Or rather, your hash will only be as good as the trim that goes into it. You can process everything from woody stems to male plants, but the result will not be of the same quality as a hashish made purely from small buds and sugar leaf (this quality trim is known as “super skuff”)
Here is an overview of the most common ways to make hash. Please follow the links for “recipes”
Possibly the simplest method of making hash around, but one which does contain the most amount of contaminants. The quality of the hash produced depends in part upon the hash-makers technique and patience.
Working on the principle that trichomes are the same size, flat screening is a method of making hash whereby you push the skuff over a mesh, leaving the vegetable matter but pushing the trichomes through. If your skuff is too dry, it will crumble and too much leaf will go through too.
The drum machine refines the flat screening method. It uses an electrically powered mesh cylinder which rotates slowly, knocking the trichomes from the skuff over a period of an hour or so (the shorter the rotation time, the purer the end product).
Mila of Amsterdam has refined the drum machine principle of making hash, and sells them in 3 sizes (brand name “The Pollinator”): but despite their popularity – her product seems almost synonymous with drum-machine hash – it has to be said that the price of a Pollinator (350€ for the smallest size) probably makes them out of reach for the hobby hash-maker.
With a little ingenuity, it is possible to make your own drum machine: here’s a video of one someone made earlier:
The principles of the drum machine method are sound, and its difficult to decide which is the better technique: drum machine or bubble hash, but certainly with either you will get an exceedingly good smoke.
Ice Water hash
Works using the idea that trichomes are heavier than water whereas vegetative material isn’t. Use a blender to thoroughly mix up the skuff with ice water and release the trichomes. Ice water is used as it freezes the glands so that they snap off easily (you can put the skuff in the freezer for up to 2 hours beforehand as well). Then let settle for a period, siphon off the water and redundant green matter and you are left with trichome rich hashish. This will need filtering to an extent as it will still contain water.
To make bubble hash, skuff is placed in a large bucket with ice water which is mixed (using an electric mix) to break off the trichomes. This is then passed through a series of screening bags to filter out the vegetative material.
There are 2 main producers of bubble hash bags on the market, Mila’s Ice-o-lator (small 2 bag set starts at 80€) and Fresh Headies “Bubble bags” (1 gallon 4 bag kit starts at 95$), although other companies are beginning to come onto the market.
You can try making your own filtration bags by sowing different sized mesh into bags of strong material.
As well as hash, you can also make hash oil, although it seems to me that both main methods (QWISO and Butane Hash Oil) involve heat and dangerous chemicals, neither of which should be attempted by the serious stoner in his preferred state of being. However, here are the links QWISO methods. The butane method though appeared to have so many warnings about possibly burning down your house I decided to leave it out of this article. If you REALLY want to know how to make it – research it yourself!
Pressing Your Hashish
Roughly mold into the shape you want. Put in freezer for a while – any residual water should coagulate as ice on the surface and can be scraped off. Place in a plastic bag, wrap with layers of damp newspaper and gently heat in a frying pan over a low heat. Don’t let the newspaper dry out or it will burn. Remove from heat, and roll with a rolling pin for 35 minutes to press (or place undre heavy object). Take off newspaper and put in freezer for one hour and then remove plastic.
What amazed me when writing & researching this article was just how simple hash making is. I’m still not convinced about the “dangerous” methods of ISO and Butane Hash Oil, but otherwise, all methods – even those which apparently involved purchasing equipment, such as the drum machine method or the bubble bags – are quite easy once demystified. I can´t believe how many years I spent storing “skuff” for rainy days when I ran out of bud, when all this time I could have been smoking my own best quality hashish!
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